When spending tax dollars, yes we need to be selective.

Most of us were pretty skeptical right off the bat when it was claimed that Mary Moran’s role in heading the secretive tax funded Bidco would be in engaging Calgarians on considering an Olympic bid rather than pushing for one side or another in the debate.  When it was announced that she would be taking leave from her highly paid appointment as the head of Calgary Economic Development in order to lead Bidco, it was reported that she would be receiving a large bonus if taxpayers were convinced to vote in favor of an Olympic bid. The back peddling was quick and this apparent bonus was removed from her already generous compensation package. Flip flopping, secrecy and deception have already become hallmarks associated with the organized proponents of Calgary’s potential Olympic bid and it will only get worse.

All pretenses of Moran’s objectivity were shed within weeks as she pulled out all the stops in pushing Calgarians towards embracing an Olympic bid. She almost sounds hysteric as she actually invoked Brexit at one time and tried guilting a business group into supporting the games by implying that the current generation will be selfish and robbing the next generation if we refuse to embrace the Olympic bid. 

To be honest, I am hoping that Mary Moran is as effective in pushing Calgarians into accepting and Olympic bid as she has been in her role in leading Calgary Economic Development. While we see her at many functions and giving many flowery speeches, we really are not seeing any return on our efforts as downtown Calgary remains a virtual ghost town with nearly 30% vacancy in the office buildings. 

Moran got rather upset as economists along with other experts in the field exposed the proposed Olympic bid to be the absurd, low balled and poorly conceived concept that it is. Moran’s response reported in the National Post is below: 

This rather vapid justification for the spending of billions on the Olympics is distressing to say the least when one considered that it is coming from the person appointed to head Calgary Economic Development. She is essentially tossing out a shallow Keynesian case for spending in saying ‘who cares where the money is spent, as long as it is spent!’.  

People with a notion of economic acumen understand that at this stage in an extended downturn it is more incumbent upon us than ever to be selective in where we will be expending our increasingly finite public funds. 

The bottom line is that the Olympics leave little in the way of a productive legacy, they almost always come in way over budget and as has been demonstrated in Vancouver, they didn’t even significantly increase the tourist revenue in the year that they were held. The games are a one time event that really only benefit the local political elite as travel and cocktail parties become the norm for years in the buildup and end with a two week party where local taxpayers will have to pay exorbitant ticket prices to see the events. 

The estimate of the games coming in at $5.2 billion has been laughed out of consideration though Bidco is doggedly sticking to their guns on that. We will be lucky to come in at under $10 billion. 

Let’s be selective despite the council of Mary Moran and see where that money could possibly be spent with better returns. 

I will split the difference and assume that the games will come in at $7 billion. I know that this is split among multiple levels of government and that there will be some revenues (mostly coming from Albertans anyway) but it always has to be remembered that there is only one taxpayer. All of Canada will be paying for the games and Calgarians will get to pay on all three levels of government. 

Let’s look at what we can get with the expenditure of $7 billion tax dollars to help put things into perspective here. 

In light of our recent weather catastrophe

Would you rather double the Calgary snow removal budget for over 50 years….?

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends?

Would you rather cut business taxes and parking rates in order to address the 30% office building vacancy in Calgary….

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends?  

Would you rather build a few new hospitals or even dozens of new emergency trauma centers in Alberta….

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends?

Would you rather end potholes in Calgary for the next century…

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends?

Would you rather give out 7,000 seed money grants and loans to entrepreneurs who would draw investors into Alberta and employ tens of thousands….

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends…

Would you like to build the entire Green line as opposed to the one cut in half due to city hall blowing the budget estimates….

Or would you like to hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends? 

The comparisons are endless as pretty much any damn expenditure is better for Albertans than pissing billions into a white elephant Olympic games. 

It is little wonder that Nenshi and his Olympic cheerleaders are working so hard to hide the real cost of the games from taxpayers. Even their grossly low balled $5.2 billion dollar figure is huge expenditure to make when our troubled economy already has so many areas of need. 

Yes, we need to be selective with where we spend our very limited tax dollars. To be frank, I think Moran should be dumped from Calgary Economic Development for this cavalier display of contempt for responsible spending. This is not a person who has the mind to bring viable enterprises to Calgary. 

Calgarians need to vote en masse to reject this whimsical waste of money not only to save today, but to send a message to city hall that they have had enough of this senseless waste of tax funds. The next generation counts on our getting our fiscal act together today. 

Or we could hold a two week party, 

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